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There’s always conference food for thought

There’s always conference food for thought

by Tom Scott

Bio | Follow: @thescottslant


Posted on April 23, 2013 at 7:34 AM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 23 at 2:04 PM

Tuesday, April 23, 2013.

If’s Stewart Mandel is correct, the college football landscape may have stabilized thanks to one ACC document.  ACC presidents have signed a Grant of Rights agreement through 2026-27 that gives the conference ownership of its 15 current and future members' television rights for the duration of that period.  That’s 14 years, and it effectively blocks ACC members from joining another league.  “What conference would add a school if it can't cash in on its television revenue?” asks Mandel.  The Big 12 has a Grant of Rights agreement that goes through 2025, and the conference once thought to be on its deathbed is nicely glued together. 

Mandel just has a couple asterisks.  Both the ACC and Big 12 could still add schools and invoke the Grant of Rights agreement on those universities.  In the ACC’s case, it could answer Connecticut’s and Cincinnati’s prayers and add the Bearcats and Huskies, saving them from the American Athletic Conference.  To this point, however, the ACC has only been interested in those schools as backups in the event that it suffered more defections,” writes Mandel.  And then there’s the Big 12, which could actually become 12 and take another look at BYU and Boise State (though the conference claims to be happy at 10).  “There are no other candidates that would be guaranteed to increase the league's per-team (TV) take,” Mandel says.

Ah, the shifting sands of Albertsons.  The grocery chain has been at the mercy of others since Joe Albertson’s supermarket was sold to SuperValu in 2006.  At that time we wondered if the chain would remain the title sponsor of the Tour’s Boise Open, and it did.  Right through the recession and an erosion of market share due to the aggressiveness of discounters.  Then when Albertsons was, in effect, bought back by Albertsons LLC earlier this year, the question arose again.  But yesterday tournament director and founder Jeff Sanders announced a three-year extension of the Albertsons sponsorship for the 2014-16 tournaments.  Albertsons is the only lead sponsor attached to the same Tour event for all 24 years the circuit has been in existence.

After 23 years as a September staple, the Albertsons Boise Open moves to July 25-28 this year after the redesign of the PGA Tour calendar.  That gives us a chance to check in on last year’s champion Luke Guthrie, who’s spending his first full season on the PGA Tour.  Guthrie has missed the cut in his last two tournaments, but he’s No. 40 in FedEx Cup standings right now and has winnings of $690,033.  The 23-year-old Illinois native’s top finish was a third at the Honda Classic in March that earned him $408,000.

The Idaho Steelheads are in good shape after getting a road split in the first two games of the ECHL Western Conference semifinals at Ontario.  But a victory in Game 3 tomorrow night at CenturyLink Arena would be pivotal.  The Steelheads are looking to get goalie Josh Robinson, the team MVP this season, back in rhythm after a lot of idleness.  Robinson hadn’t been between the pipes for 11 days when he relieved Tyler Beskorowany in Saturday night’s 5-0 loss to the Reign, stopping five of the six shots he faced.  Robinson was fresh off yet another call-up to the Texas Stars that produced not a minute of ice time. 

He’s riding a longshot, but he’s in.  Idaho native and one-time Capital High wrestler Gary Stevens, who came out of retirement in January and turned 50 last month, will be aboard Oxbow at the Kentucky Derby a week from Saturday.  That’ll add a little intrigue to Opening Week at Les Bois Park.  Stevens, who has won three Kentucky Derbys, will reunite with the trainer who was involved in two of them, D. Wayne Lukas.  This will be Stevens’ first Run For The Roses in eight years.

We don’t know much more about Washington after its spring game than we did before it.  Saturday’s tilt was more scrimmage than game, with quarterback Keith Price, wide receiver Kasen Williams and running back Bishop Sankey making only cameo appearances.  The affair was attended by a modest crowd of 7,000 due to its relocation to Seattle Center’s Memorial Stadium during the Husky Stadium remodel.  “Of course, spring games are a little vanilla,” Price said in the Seattle Times.  “We didn't have a lot of our best (plays) dialed up.”  Oh, and star tight end Austin Sefarian-Jenkins was missing altogether due to his suspension.  "When we get Austin, No. 88, back, it's a scary offense,” said Price.  Will that be by August 31 versus Boise State, or won’t it?

The big story out Nevada’s spring game Saturday wasn’t the evolution of the pistol offense under new coach Brian Polian (Cody Fajardo went 17-of-25 for 253 yards and two touchdowns).  It was the early signs of a re-energized fan base, thanks to a coaching change and a concentrated push on the event by the Nevada athletic department.  The game attracted about 5,000 to Mackay Stadium.  Sure, that pales in comparison with Boise State’s 9,000 a week and a half ago (and the 17,000 the Broncos drew a year ago).  But that’s a big step for the Wolf Pack, which is accustomed to drawing in the upper hundreds for its spring game.

Idaho coach Paul Petrino suddenly has two openings to fill on his staff, both created by former Vandal players who have decided to move on.  Patrick Libey, who had moved to the defensive line after coaching safeties and special teams under Robb Akey, is leaving to pursue other opportunities—to be determined.  Mike Anderson had just been hired by Petrino in December from Washington, where he was a defensive assistant.  Anderson is becoming part-owner of a startup company in Lewiston.  Libey and Anderson were Idaho teammates from 2000-03.

This Day In Sports…April 23, 2008, five years ago today:

Less than five years after starring for Idaho State, defensive end Jared Allen becomes the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL with his trade from Kansas City to Minnesota.  The Vikings signed Allen to a six-year contract with $31 million guaranteed—and a total of $74 million possible if he were to reach certain incentives.  Allen, the Buck Buchanan Award winner at ISU as Division I-AA’s best defensive player, had led the NFL in sacks in 2007 with 15½ but had a major falling-out with the Chiefs, ending with a breakdown in contract negotiations.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment Sunday nights at 10:30PM on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra and anchors five sports segments each weekday on 93.1 The Ticket.  He also served as color commentator on KTVB’s telecasts of Boise State football for 14 seasons.)